The many ways the root canal procedure has changed over the years
There are few things more dreaded by Australians than a root canal. The pain, discomfort, and irritation associated with having a root canal are legendary. The fear of having to have one causes people to put off otherwise minor tooth ailments until they become serious – and then a more serious intervention is required than what was needed in the first place.
The funny part of all of this is that root canals stopped being a long, painful and intense procedure a long time ago, as technology, medication and techniques have naturally improved with time. We can’t even begin to count the number of patients who have left our practices after a root canal who didn’t need anything stronger than ibuprofen for the pain. But yet, the fear remains. We’re confident that if you were to ask most dentists in Brisbane, Perth or Melbourne if root canals are an easy and minor procedure, they would say “yes”.
To see just how stress-free a root canal can be, one only has to look at how far endodontic treatment has come…
Early Root Canal Treatment
What most people associate with having a root canal actually stems from an outdated view of the treatment. Like most medical procedures, advances constantly occur as experts learn from experience and results. What you would have experienced even 10 years ago in a dentist’s chair is completely different from what you can expect visiting one today.
The earliest root canal treatments focused on simply draining the infected tooth to relieve pain and pressure. As time passed, the procedure integrated covering the drained tooth with protective coverings. When the use of the x-ray became widespread, the focus shifted to saving the tooth instead of extracting it.
The use of breakable stainless steel files shifted to the more flexible nickel titanium, and motors used have increased in torque, increasing the strength, speed, and control of dental instruments. Microscopes have improved allowing for a crystal-clear view of the extent and margins of the damaged tooth. New medical rinses and filling combat the return of infection and the anaesthetic options available to patients has increased in type and scope, so there is a pain relief option for everyone.
These days, a root canal can be quick and painless – and much of the pain you will feel will come from delaying it. So if you have a toothache or pain, remember that you have nothing to be afraid of and book your root canal appointment today.